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COP25: UN and EU officials urge collective action on climate change

BRUSSELS – United Nations and European Union officials, diplomats and scientific advisors, brought the UN Climate Changes Conference (COP25) currently underway in Madrid, directly to downtown Brussels this week hoping to win support for greater ambition ahead of 2020 when countries must commit to new climate action plans.

With support from the Government of Spain, the Instituto Cervantes in Brussels hosted a series of round-table discussions on climate change and the 2030 Agenda, linking COP25 to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals,

“We have to give up our carbon dependence and build a sustainable future for our children,” Barbara Pesce-Monteiro, the UN Director in Brussels, told a standing-room only audience.

Chile holds the presidency of the COP which is being hosted by Spain.

“The expectations are really very high,’’ said Veronika Safrankova, Head of the UN Environment Brussels Office.

With just 14 months to go before COP26 in Glasgow, countries are working to respond to pressure from young people, who are demanding action and ways to solve complex issues such as the rules for the carbon market and to a just and fair transition to a world that relies less on carbon.

“Climate change is a collective task,’’ said Patricio Torres, Chile’s Ambassador to Belgium and his country’s Representative to the European Union. `We don’t have time to lose. It’s time for action,’’ Ambassador Torres said.

Speakers stressed that stepping up ambition was key and that small changes would not be enough to make a difference.

“We need everybody onboard,’’ said Inigo Ascasibar Zubizarreta, the Environment Attache of the Permanent Representation of Spain to the EU.

With the imminent discussion of the “Green Deal’’ proposed by the new European Commission, speakers stressed the importance of European leadership and the level of ambition of the European Union.

Ms. Pesce-Monteiro stressed the importance of embracing and building on the concept of inclusive multilateralism to confront the climate emergency.

“I am confident the EU will continue to lead from the front in finding multilateral solutions to climate change,’’ Ms. Pesce-Monteiro said.

For its part, the EU has a number of tools and programmes to help accelerate the pace of action, including the Green Deal, its trade and development policies.

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